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  • Keep it in the family (Weekly blog, 28 May 2017)

    Posted on May 29, 2017
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General

    Bodenfreiheit’s first piece of land at Dafins

    This week, we welcomed a new member of the INTO family, Bodenfreiheit – Verein zur Erhaltung von Freiraeumen.  Bodenfreiheit is our first Austrian member organisation.  Their goal is to engage people in securing land (Boden) for public enjoyment.  Members contribute €120 pa and the society uses these donations to buy strategically important land, thereby keeping it free and accessible for future generations.

    They have achieved a lot in since their establishment in 2011 but keen to learn from INTO members in order to scale up their activities.   On their side, they have some good experiences to share around the question of participatory governance.

    Why not take a moment to welcome Bodenfreiheit to the INTO community?!

    Saint Lucia

    Talking of family, I was very touched to read the letters of support from INTO members to the Saint Lucia National Trust.  As you know, the Trust is experiencing a breakdown in its relationship with the Saint Lucia government (Weekly blog, 2 April 2017).

    Earlier in the week, I wrote to INTO members asking for their help and support by:

    Family letters

    I have seen three letters of support which all underlined my belief in the old adage ‘strength in unity’.  The letter-writers empathised with the challenges, differences of opinion, divergent priorities, feelings of isolation, straitened budgets.  But they met these with words of concern and solidarity, of a global community, of courage, partnership, visions and legacies.  Our duty to find sustainable and imaginative solutions to all the difficult challenges we face, for the sake of future generations.

    Jeremy Harris, Director of the Saint Helena National Trust, even added this poem to his note of encouragement, which I think will resonate with all of us:

    When despair for the world grows in me

    Saint Helena National Trust Millenium Forest Project – 13 years on

    and I wake in the night at the least sound

    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

    I go and lie down where the wood drake

    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

    I come into the peace of wild things

    who do not tax their lives with forethought

    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

    And I feel above me the day-blind stars

    waiting with their light. For a time

    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

                                                                                   ~Wendell Berry (If you haven’t already written to Saint Lucia and would like to, do please contact me.)

    ICNT delegates outside Anglesey Abbey, a National Trust site in the East of England (David Brown)

    INTO Handbook

    Work on the Handbook continues.  It is intended as a resource both to people and groups thinking of establishing a National Trust.  But also for existing Trusts to be inspired by the activities of other INTO members.  It will demonstrate what is unique and special about the National Trust approach, why they matter and what they can achieve in all parts of the world.

    The process for collecting and researching content has been a collaborative one with INTO members contributing case studies and references, and selecting topics to be covered.   It is envisaged that the Handbook will be a significant contribution to strengthening the whole INTO family – old and new, big and small – as we strive to support the global heritage movement.

    On Friday I joined a call about the 17th ICNT programme, which is really coming together. I’m particularly excited about trying my hand at some heritage craft skills! We also discussed plans for the ‘warming’ event on 21st July in London; a showcase of Balinese textile design.

    A family outing

    Lastly, on Saturday, we took our children to the stage show of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’.  Over a year and half since buying the tickets, the excitement has been mounting for the last month or so.   And we were not disappointed.  Cursed Child is simply magical.   Possibly even a new benchmark in family entertainment.  Old fashioned magic tricks mixed with cutting edge lighting, set and sound design.   But above all, it works because of a kind of collusion – or trust – between us all.  The combination of a fabulous exciting story on the one hand, and an absolute will to believe on the other.   Magic.

    As far as the plot goes, I’m sworn to secrecy (#keepthesecrets) but I simply can’t keep quiet about how brilliant the show is …

    Thanks for reading!

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